Reigning Miss Alabama, Zoe Sozo Bethel, has died from her injuries eight days after she was involved in a car crash. She was 27.
The beauty queen’s family confirmed the news on Monday. She suffered severe head and neck injuries in the accident.
“On Friday, February 18, 2022, at approximately 5.30am Eastern Time in Miami, Florida, our beloved Zoe Sozo Bethel passed from this life into the next as a result of succumbing to her injuries,” a post on her Instagram account read.
“Zoe touched the hearts of many people and was actively affiliated with several organisations and groups.”
Bethel won the title of Miss Alabama for America Strong in 2021, and worked as an advocate and brand ambassador for a number of charities and non-profit organisations, including Turning Point USA, Liberty University’s Falkirk Centre, Students for Life and Project Veritas.
“We are honoured to have known Zoe Bethel,” Turning Point USA said in a tweet. “She has been a pillar in the Conservative movement, always moving with grace and wisdom. She has inspired many, and her legacy will continue to touch the hearts of people everywhere.”
The Miss Alabama pageant also paid tribute to Bethel, changing its social media profile images to pictures of her.
“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of our dear friend and reigning Miss Alabama for America Strong, Zoe Bethel,” said a post on the pageant's Facebook page. “She was a light in this world, and we are heartbroken over the loss of such a bright and beautiful woman.”
Bethel was involved in a car crash on February 10, her family said, and had been in a coma.
“Unfortunately the doctors are saying the damage cannot be repaired and that she may not have much time left,” they said last week. They described the news as “an abrupt and very traumatising situation for our family” and requested privacy.
Her family has now set up a fund for help with funeral and medical costs, as Bethel did not have health insurance.